From my perspective, my father’s “last words,” turned out not to be his final ones.
If defined as an audible message expressed as spoken word, then, okay, I’ll concede that for most folks, the words qualify as his “last.” I discovered, however, some seventeen years after the farewell, that he was still able to communicate—telepathically through a medium.
What’s more, even in the absence of a human conduit, he confirmed that he was able to reach out through the language of “signs” to offer reassurance of his abiding presence and love. He suggested I look for such meaningful signs in nature. If you’ve read my earlier post about that first conversation—you know that he directed me, for starters, to “look for a weird bird.”
Faithful to his promise, in almost no time at all, a peacock strutted in front of my daughter’s car as she exited her suburban office parking lot, a hummingbird hovered—at length and for the first time ever—at my kitchen door, and a single wild turkey took to hanging out next to the family car, often just standing at the driver’s door, at other times circling round and round the vehicle in the driveway.
Presumably, just in case I doubted the link between bird-and-dad, he swiftly delivered not one displaced or weirdly-behaving bird, but three that I couldn’t help but notice. Each sighting, in isolation, was unlikely, I thought, but in concert with the others, and so soon after his directive, enough to give one pause. The incidents were so unusual that I had to ask the question, “When is a bird just a bird and when is it something more?”
It was that Something-More that Sue Doyle was curious about as she approached the end of her life here. Close friends of mine—Sue, with no other options left for eradicating her cancer, and her husband Dick Oberg—both knew about my daughter Liv’s connection to the Other Side. Though each was skeptical about continuing consciousness—Dick even more so than Sue—she asked Liv if they might meet with her to get her bead on what lies beyond the veil. They left the meeting willing to act on Liv’s suggestion that they choose a “sign” that Sue might send to Dick sometime after she passed. A signal that, indeed, there’s Something-More, that now Sue was a part of it.
They told no one else that it would be an owl. While they couldn’t be specific about when or in what way this sign might come, they agreed that it had to be more than a distant hoot in the night or an owl, in flight, over woods some distance away. It would need to be something meaningful. Something that Dick couldn’t dismiss.
In the months that followed Sue’s passing, there was no sign of the sign. Not a surprise to Dick, I suspect, skeptic that he was. Once, a three-foot banner—embellished with the word LOVE and hanging against a wall in his house—began to swing back and forth ever so slightly, clearly without the aid of any movement of air in the room, no wind outside.. Dick reacted with bewilderment mixed with disbelief. As he placed a hand on the banner to stop the motion, he wondered—Could it be a different sign from Sue? How to be sure?
Ten months after Sue’s passing, he hosted a first gathering of music lovers committed to sharing favorite musical pieces with each other. Since his and Sue’s wedding anniversary was only days away, Dick decided to play them the song sung at their ceremony. As the music began, an owl swooped down out of nowhere.
“It landed on a branch just outside” he recalls, “with Sue’s and my favorite love song playing— “Thanksgiving Eve” sung by folksinger Sally Rogers. The one we first played, thirty-one years earlier, in the yard just beyond the living room windows.”
The owl remained perched beyond the glass, surveying the group until the last chords. Then it flew away. Dick was stunned. And elated. He just knew that it had to be a sign from Sue.
To his astonishment, the bird came back on the following day on what would have been Sue’s 70th birthday. This time the owl appeared in broad daylight. It was behavior distinctly different from the norm for these nocturnal and elusive birds. It sat and stared, unfazed by Dick’s presence. It returned the next day, and, remarkably, on the fourth as well, the date of their wedding anniversary. The beautiful creature paid him a visit on fourteen consecutive days. And he took photos of a bird unruffled by his movements, though amazingly close at hand.
“I love to tell my owl story whenever the moment seems appropriate. It has impacted many folks, in many ways,” Dick says of the experience, adding that he’s aware now that “both love and pain can act as portals to spiritual transformation.”
He says, “I am still hesitant to say that I know anything for sure. But now I am alert to communications from Sue and to the Mysterious Source of all things. Although I identify as a religious agnostic, who once had little to no interest in the issue of post-death communication, I was ripped open by this two-week long experience with Sue.”
(Rest assured, he means this in a good way!)
I’ll still be musing next time about how such signs point the way to Something-More.
Top photo is one taken by Dick Oberg on Sue’s birthday. The other is one of “Sue” he took that I keep within view in my kitchen.